Food ask Ragus direct questions on future sugar supply

Dec 25 2011

UK sugar manufacturer Ragus says that it could capitalise on developments at Tate & Lyle’s Thameside refinery in London, due to the facility’s ageing infrastructure and gradual capacity declines.

Slough-based Ragus produces specialist syrups, treacle and unrefined sugars, and director Ben Eastick told that Tate was his firm’s main rival in cane sugar, where the two firms supply most of the UK’s blue-chip food manufacturers.


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Eastenders Dot Cotton says its got to be Golden Syrup nothing else will do

Dec 25 2011

Last night’s edition of the British institution, Eastender’s saw Dot Cotton making Jim his favorite Rhubarb & Syrup pudding. As she had no syrup left Dot searched in vain for a tin of Goldie. Of hearing that the Minute Mart had discontinued the elixir Dot rightly proclaimed “I need Syrup, Golden Syrup, it’s a staple. What’s the world coming to? 30 years ago every larder in the land had a tin of Golden Syrup. Jim’s pudding, he’s very particular, it’s got to be Golden Syrup”!

Easticks Golden syrup

The iconic tin of Eastick’s Golden Syrup. 

Everyone in the office was intrigued by Dot’s pudding quest and so we searched our archives for Golden Syrup Rhubarb pudding and found this delicious recipe !

500g forced rhubarb
100g caster sugar, plus extra for sprinkling
Grated zest and juice of 1 orange
100g butter, softened, plus extra for greasing
3 tbsp golden syrup
1 vanilla pod, split and scraped
2 large free-range eggs
Grated zest of 1 lemon
100g self-raising flour
50ml milk

1. Trim the rhubarb stalks, then cut them into batons and set some aside. Combine the rest with a sprinkling of caster sugar and the orange zest and juice in a pan and gently cook for 5-10 minutes until the rhubarb begins to soften. Set aside to cool.

2. Butter a 1-litre pudding basin and place the reserved rhubarb pieces in the bottom of the basin, then drizzle over the golden syrup.

3. In a bowl, beat the butter, sugar and vanilla together until creamy and light. Add the eggs one at a time mixing well after each addition. Beat in the lemon zest.

4. Sift half the flour and gently fold into the mixture. Add a little milk, then sift in the rest of the flour and fold into the mixture with the remaining milk.

5. Spoon into the pudding basin, cover with a circle of baking paper and tie securely with kitchen string. Place the basin in a large pot and pour hot water into the pot until it reaches two-thirds of the way up its sides. Cover and steam for 1½ hours. Allow the pudding to cool for about 5 minutes before turning out onto a serving plate.

6. Serve slices with the spoonfuls of softened rhubarb and lots of custard or fresh Cream

If Dot wants a free sample of Golden Syrup she should email and we will send her some post haste

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Organic Prices Continue The Upward Trend.

Dec 24 2011

The global organic market is competing against a backdrop of 30 year high conventional prices which has led to eroding organic premiums which is limiting supply growth. The organic sugar market until the economic downturn in 2009 had an annual growth in excess of 25%. IFOAM expects demand to grow between 5% and 15% annually for the next five years, however supply of organic sugar is being significantly restrained. Since the EU sugar reform which started in 2006, EU organic beet has been unable to develop due to high growing premiums compared to other crops. As a result 90% of EU organic sugar usage is imported cane. This in turn has put additional demand on cane growing suppliers. Brazil the world’s largest producer has suffered from a reduction in investment since the economic slowdown. Paraguay the second largest producer of organic cane has for the last three years had no production coming from its largest mill, creating a deficit on the world market. Cuba has recently announced that they will be unable to supply the market for the 2011/12 campaign.

The outcome for organic prices for the new sugar marketing year will see increases by as much as 50% over last year’s prices as a direct result of global stock draw downs affecting the sugar market price and in particular organic premiums, coupled with the individual supply problems affecting Brazil, Paraguay & Cuba.

Organic cane in Paraguay.

Organic cane in Paraguay.



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Sugar Price Fluctuation As A Result Of Crisis On Financial Markets & Varying Weather Patterns.

Dec 22 2011

Market Position
A global sugar production surplus is expected for 2011/12, estimated at 8.5 million tonnes, following four years of production deficits and stock drawdown. Prices in September lowered following the news of a slight improvement in the Brazilian crop and early indications of impressive beet yields throughout Northern Europe driven by good growing conditions and an increase in area planted. However, prices rallied in October as a result of the reductions in Mexican and Thai crops, which was further compounded by external macroeconomic factors, particularly in light of the escalating speculation over the fate of the Euro. For 2011/12 beet sugar will account for 22% of global sugar production and will continue to rise due to production costs falling closer to that of cane from developing countries, coupled with global shifts in economic strength. Cane however will still remain the most competitive sugar crop.

The EU commission has proposed an end to the system of national sugar production quotas, from October 2015, following a second consecutive year of sugar shortages estimated at 1.1 mln tonnes. The proposal would also allow an increase of EU sugar exports which currently are capped under world trade rules (due to the EU quota system). The current EU production quota is 13.337 million tonnes of beet sugar, from the estimated total production output of 17.5 mln tonnes for 2011/12 crop. 3.5 mln tonnes of cane sugar is imported from preferential countries. Near record outputs are expected from northern beet growing regions, as far south as Austria and Switzerland, with France and Germany each expected to produce 4.5 mln tonnes. In contrast, southern European states of Portugal, Greece and Italy has seen significant reductions in planted area since the EU reform with an expected quota shortfall of 500,000 tonnes. The shortage of sugar in the EU market has seen rapidly rising prices throughout 2011. For 2012 the tight domestic market will require the EU Commission to authorise imports over and above preferential suppliers and to re-classify beet sugar into domestic quotas.

Recent news of the Brazilian crop has reported a slight improvement following a poor forecast, coupled with the Brazilian Real weakening allowing exports to become more competitive. Compared with this time last year cane crushing is down 7.3% at 436.5 mln tonnes, and sugar production is down by 3.1% at 27.7 mln tonnes. However due to a significant increase in total recoverable sugar from the cane and an increase of cane being diverted away from ethanol production, there has been an improvement over the original forecast. Brazil’s output has fallen for the first time in six years and is expected to be down again for 2012/13, mainly due to a lack of investment as reported in depth previously (see September blog).

Sustained heavy monsoon rains, possibly caused by the strengthening La Niña phenomenon has created the worst flooding in the country for over 50 years. Luckily the main cane growing regions have remained relatively dry, although an estimated 5% of the cane crop may be affected by floods. An estimated second consecutive year of record production of 100 mln tonnes of cane will produce 10 mln tonnes of sugar. The flooding delayed the beginning of the harvest to the middle of November, which in turn will delay exports and probably reduce sucrose yields at the end of the crushing campaign. This will have an adverse affect on the white sugar market which is under supply pressure and residual exports from 2010/11 campaign has been delayed due to logistical constraints caused by the flooding.

The harvesting campaign has been delayed in the Maharashtra region due to protracted monsoon rains, coupled with a price dispute between famers and millers in Maharashtra and Uttar Pradesh, the sub-tropical region of India. The government seems reluctant to allow large quantities of sugar to be exported until there is an accurate size of the crop and they are delaying export permits, much to the annoyance of the millers.

Last year’s crop suffered from La Niña influenced rainfall followed by the devastating Cyclone Yasi in February, leaving a considerable amount of cane not harvested and stood over for the 2011/12 season. Early harvesting reports show that the cane has recovered fairly well and estimates for the season are up from 3.6 mln tonnes to 3.9 mln tonnes, but still less than the 4.5 mln tonnes produced in 2009/10.

North American sugar beet harvest is underway with the USDA lowering its projection for domestic sugar production following wet weather dampening yields. Reports from the top four producing states show that harvesting is slower than this time last year. Estimates for Mexico’s cane crop are lower at 5 million tonnes due to draught and frosts earlier in the year.


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Ragus questions EC approach and predicts further sugar price hikes

Dec 18 2011

Sugar supplier to the bakery and confectionery industry, Ragus, said it expects further commodity price hikes and contests whether proposed EC intervention on import duty tariff reductions would have the desired effect on the deficit in the EU market.


Click to read the full article in Bakery &

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Scheckter's – the power of nature is go, go, go.

Dec 16 2011

IFE saw the launch of the world’s first 100% natural organic Fairtrade approved energy drink using sugar sourced by Ragus, the result of 2 years development by Toby Scheckter, utilising a wealth of experience having grown up on the renowned Laverstoke Park Organic Farm.

Racers Ben Eastick & Toby Scheckter with Frank O’Kelly.


                                                          Racers Ben Eastick & Toby Scheckter with Frank O’Kelly.

Follow the progress as Scheckter’s powers up the energy drinks grid at: alternatively

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